How Long Does It Take to Remodel a Bathroom?

Megan DeMatteo
Written by Megan DeMatteo
Updated July 12, 2021
father helping his young daughter was her hands in sink with marble countertop
wera Rodsawang/Moment via Getty Images

Before you rip out that old tile, be prepared to spend at least two months planning, building and finishing your bathroom renovations

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Bathrooms come in all shapes and sizes, but even the smallest powder rooms can feel luxurious with a fresh renovation. While there’s no telling what you might find while ripping out old tile, a little planning is all you need to confidently DIY your bathroom repair.

The average bathroom renovation takes between two to three months. Ahead, we break down the common stages of bathroom renovations so you can be well-prepared to tackle the project with ease.

Planning Your Bathroom Remodel

Upgrading your powder room or primary bathroom can be as in-depth as you want to make it. But no matter what, every bathroom remodeling project involves the same three phases:

1. Pre-construction phase

2. Construction phase

3. Post-construction phase

Phase 1: Pre-Construction

Estimated time: Minimum one month

The pre-construction phase usually takes at least three to four weeks, assuming you already own the property you plan on renovating. If not, add on the time it will take you to close on a house (usually at least a month).

In the pre-construction phase, the homeowner’s job is to dream up bathroom plans and hire the right contractors to execute the vision. Find bathroom remodelers near you who have the appropriate state licenses and knowledge to safely work with tile, plumbing, and electricity. The right pro can make sure everything is handled, helping you avoid water damage or broken pipes.

“With bathroom remodels, we can often save the client money if they can creatively use the same footprint or layout of water supply and drainage,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and a Raleigh, NC-based general contractor. “Moving supply lines is expensive, and moving drainage lines is twice as expensive.”

Once you find a few promising contractors with the right expertise, schedule site visits to walk them through your current bathroom. Share the space’s measurements with them, explain what kind of materials you want to use, and show them drawings and photos of bathroom remodeling ideas you’re inspired by. It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions before the bathroom remodeling process gets started.

Contractors will then send you written bids for the project, including its estimated cost, within a week or less. Spend a few days reading over the bids and choose the contractor you like best. Review and sign the contract, make your first upfront payment to the contractor, and decide on your upcoming construction schedule. 

Next, obtain any necessary permits from your city and state. This step can bring a few delays depending on how complex your project is. Fortunately, most contractors are familiar with the permitting processes and can likely walk you through it. Give yourself at least a week or two to complete this step of the pre-construction phase.

Finally, you’re ready to buy materials and give your neighbors a heads-up that you’ll be doing construction out of courtesy. Look for materials online, at local retailers, and anywhere your contractor recommends.

Phase 2: Construction

Estimated time: Minimum one week

The construction phase will vary widely in time and remodeling costs for everyone, once again due to how in-depth your reno is. Give yourself at least one week to demo (break down) the old bathroom. Before installing new flooring, tiling, faucets, or light fixtures, you should strip and dispose of the existing materials. 

If your project requires city permits, allow one week for an inspector to come and evaluate electrical rewiring and new plumbing installations. Also prepare for any possible waiting lists. You typically cannot move forward with the final aspects of your renovation until a master plumber, electrician, and/or inspector examines and signs off on pipework, water lines, gas lines and wires, so be sure to allow for some wiggle room. 

“It's important for the homeowner to really engage at this time,” says Tschudi. “Contractors want the job to be right but sometimes can’t see if there are problems. This is the time to sync up.”

After the “bones” of the project (i.e., what’s behind the walls) are complete, install the remaining features like the tub, vanity, sink, and toilet. Tiling, shelving and hardware are usually the last elements to be completed.

And, of course, don’t forget to plan for cleanup. While you’ll save yourself from the biggest messes by using drop cloths, plastic sheets, and rags as you go, there may be considerable dust or debris left over from drilling through drywall, grouting and spackling.

closeup of bathroom with towel racks and freestanding bathrub
Andreas von Einsiedel/Corbis Documentary via Getty Images

Phase 3: Post-Construction

Estimated time: Minimum one week

You’re almost at that rewarding feeling of satisfaction—but don’t let your guard down too soon. The final step is a thorough walkthrough with your hired contractor. This walkthrough is your last chance to get the contractor’s help in making sure the final touches are perfect.

Be precise and review the work alongside your contractor. Test out everything from drawers to doorknobs, making sure you look at all the details. Note any problems or concerns with the contractor, who will fix them. Also, be sure to ask your contractor what their policy is in case you notice an issue after a few weeks of using the new bathroom.

When you’re content with the work, fulfill your contractor’s final payment and leave them a good review so friends and neighbors can benefit from their expertise.

What to Expect When Remodeling a Bathroom

Here is a sample timeline to help you plan for your upcoming bathroom renovation:

  • Pre-construction research: 1–2 weeks

  • Interviewing contractors: 1–2 weeks

  • Applying for and obtaining permits: 1 week

  • Signing contracts: 1–3 days

  • Demolition (break down): 1–2 days

  • Carpentry (e.g., designing and installing wooden bathroom vanities): 2–3 days

  • Plumbing (e.g., moving the tub or toilet): 2–3 days

  • Electrical work (required when installing bathroom bar lights, sconces, and vanity lighting):2 days

  • First inspection: 1 day (+ waiting time)

  • Insulation: 1 day

  • Drywall installation: 3 days

  • Paint: 1–2 days

  • Final inspection: 1 day (+ waiting time)

  • Tiling: 2 days

  • Trim (e.g. wainscoting, crown molding, cabinetry): 1–2 days

  • Floors (including vinyl, ceramic tiles, engineered wood, etc.): 2 days

  • Hookups (sink, toilet, etc.): 1 day

  • Hardware & finishing touches (handles, lightbulbs, artwork): 2 days

Final Stage: Enjoy Your New Bathroom

Not only can a fresh, modern bathroom help your daily routine feel more inspired, but it can also add incredible value to your home. Whether your new bathroom renovation costs you $10,000 or $85,000, the upgrades will no doubt be noticeable each morning when you brush your teeth. 

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